Professor Jenny S. Martinez, a scholar of international law and constitutional law who has been a member of the Stanford Law faculty for more than 15 years, was named dean of Stanford Law School in January. She assumed her new responsibilities as the Richard E. Lang Professor of Law and Dean on April 1, succeeding M. Elizabeth Magill, who is leaving to become provost of the University of Virginia.

“Jenny is a noted scholar, dedicated teacher, and life-changing mentor to students. She is a fantastic citizen of the law school and wonderful colleague. She is strategic, tactical and visionary and has great ideas about the future of the law school. She is a terrific person to lead this extraordinary institution,” says Magill.

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Martinez is a leading expert on the role of courts and tribunals in advancing human rights. She joined Stanford Law School as a faculty member in 2003, served as associate dean for curriculum from 2013 to 2016, and in 2018 chaired a key working group that developed a plan to advance diversity and inclusion in the school. An experienced litigator as well as a scholar, she teaches courses on constitutional law, civil procedure, international law, and international business transactions. Both in her earlier career and in her academic work at Stanford, Martinez has focused on the role of legal institutions, historical and contemporary, in supporting and protecting human rights. She is the author of The Slave Trade and the Origins of International Human Rights Law and numerous articles in leading academic journals.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to serve Stanford Law School as a leader at this important time,” Martinez says. “Through my work in international and comparative law, I have seen how important law is to building societies where everyone is treated fairly and all kinds of human endeavors can flourish. Through innovative research and teaching, in collaboration with other departments in the university, Stanford Law School is uniquely situated to contribute to solving public policy problems and training lawyers for the future.”

Martinez is a senior fellow (by courtesy) of Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and a faculty affiliate of Stanford’s Center for International Security and Cooperation and Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Yale University and a JD from Harvard Law School. She clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer (BA ’59) and Judge Guido Calabresi of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Early in her career, she was associate legal officer for Judge Patricia Wald of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague, where she worked on trials involving genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. She is a member of the American Law Institute and serves as a member of the U.S. State Department’s Advisory Committee on International Law.